The two Thomas Pye’s of Haughton.

My seven times great, grandfather John Pye, born 1611 in the parish of Haughton, Staffordshire, was the son of Thomas and Elizabeth Pye. Thomas Pye had married Elizabeth Russell in 1608.

When I was deciding which Thomas Pye was the father of John Pye I had two options to choose from. There was Thomas Pye born 1578 son of Alexander and Elizabeth Pye. And Thomas Pye born 1577 son of William and Margery Pye.

The Last Will and Testaments of Margery Pye and her son Humphrey Pye gave me the clues I needed. Humphrey, who died in 1625 a bachelor, had named his mother Margery and all his siblings, the only one of whom he listed as having children was his sister Ann Hawton (Haughton). Therefore this suggests that his brother Thomas was a bachelor and could not have been the father of John Pye (his father having married in 1608 and had two children). Margery’s Will of 1627 matches Humphrey’s.

Conclusion, John Pye’s father Thomas Pye was the son of Alexander Pye.

To confirm the year of death for Thomas Pye I noted in the bishops transcripts a burial date in 1629 for Thomas Pye. And following the entry was “Ann the wife of Humfrey Cockes and sister of the above Thomas Pye”. A very helpful notation. Knowing that Ann, the daughter of William and Margery, married name was Hawton/Haughton, it meant that Ann Cockes was the daughter of Alexander Pye and she and her brother Thomas Pye (husband of Elizabeth Russell) had both died in 1629.

Alexander Pye’s parents and grandparent’s have been deduced from the archdeaconry manuscripts. Note there is no evidence to support a known surname or parents for Margery Pye.

Posted in Pye, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

John Pye and Ann Cotton

My ancestor, John Pye, was born at Haughton, Staffordshire in 1611.  From later baptism records it is known that John’s wife was named Ann.

However, as there is no marriage record for John Pye to his wife Ann, her surname is not known.

I note on family trees posted on that many members have listed her name as Ann Cotton.

The source record for this claim is the record of marriage for Ann Cotton to John Pea in Derby.  Pea is not Pye.  This marriage took place too many years prior to the births of the Pye children in Haughton, Staffordshire.

There are no other records linking Ann Cotton to Staffordshire.  There are no records for a baptism for this Ann Cotton and hence I do not know how parents were attributed to her.  The Thomas Cotton listed as her father has dates compiled from three different Thomas Cottons.

My conclusion is that John Pye 1611-1681 did not marry Ann Cotton.  John’s wife’s surname remains unknown.


Posted in Pye | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Humphry Pye. Wanting to be found.

I have written before about Humphry Pye, scrivener of London, but it seems he wanted me to find out more. Humphry was a first cousin ten times removed, born prior to 1570 in the parish of Haughton, Staffordshire. Humphry was apprenticed as a scrivener in 1597 and reached the rank of Upper Warden in 1625, the year of his death.

I had found quite a number of references to him and had a copy of his Will, therefore, it was just on a whim that I again conducted a google search for him.

I found a reference to there being a monument to him in the church of St Andrew’s, Hornchurch (formerly Essex, now Havering, London).

I contacted the church staff and after some diligent research they found the monument and cleaned it up. The monument is a wall slab with a detailed inscription topped with a basrelief figure of Humphry.

What a wonderful gift to now have photos of his tomb. I am now discovering more about his nephew’s (another Humphrey Pye – gunmaker) descendants via which makes available a wealth of documents and reference material.

Posted in Pye | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment


When I received the death certificate of William Simmonds, who had died in 1891, it revealed his cause of death as paralysis. I thought this was an unusual and limited explanation for a cause of death.

I knew from the 1891 census records of Lancashire, England that William was a patient at Rainhill asylum for many months prior to his death.

It wasn’t until this year that I discovered an explanation. Whilst watching a Who do you think you are? episode which explained the symptoms of syphilis as madness and general paralysis and that due to the stigma associated with syphilis, death certificates of victims often only recorded death from paralysis rather than the disease itself.

So I went back to the 1891 census which now has the previously closed last column open to discover all the patients at Rainhill were listed as lunatics and confirmed Rainhill was a Lunatic asylum.
A horrible disease that attacks the brain and causes madness and slow paralyzing of the body.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment


I have removed the majority of my articles as I am unable to spend much time on my blog. However, I am still researching my family’s ancestry and adding to my books.

My main area of research is the Pye family from the south western district of Victoria (from Warrnambool to Portland and Hamilton). As well as the descendants of the Pye family from Windsor, NSW.
The Pye’s originated from Co. Stafford, England.

Plus the Sinnott family from Yambuk and Camperdown, Vic. Who originated from Co Wexford, Ireland.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A slubber at the Rawdon woollen mill.

When Emma Pye married Abraham Hargreaves in 1870 in Yorkshire, Abraham’s occupation was given as “Slubber”. ” What on earth does a slubber do?” Thought I.

I discovered Abraham worked at the woollen mill in Rawdon, Yorkshire and that a slubber’s job was to remove slubs or imperfections from the wool.

Emma and Abraham’s children also worked at the mill as mule piecers and condenser minders.

Emma Pye was born in 1838 at Acton Trussell, Staffordshire, the daughter of William Pye (my ancestor’s brother) and Mary Marshall.
Emma and Abraham Hargreaves had five children, David, Kate, Arthur, Jane and Stephen. Emma died in 1889.

Emma’s sister, Mary Marshall formerley Pye, also went to Rawdon where she married her second husband, Thomas Robert Stutton. Thomas also worked at the woollen mill. Mary died in 1876 and Thomas in 1877. Mary had two children, Clara and Mary Elizabeth Marshall.

In the history of Rawdon there is an interesting story about the Rev Samuel Marsden who on a trip to Australia obtained some merino wool which he took to the Rawdon woollen mill to have a suit made, King George saw the suit and commissioned one for himself.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

POW Limburg, Germany. Charles Burns.

As many of the Army records for World War One were destroyed during the London bombing of the second World War, it was great to discover that the newspaper, Walsall Observer and South Staffordshire Gazette featured full page spreads during the first world war years of the local lads who were wounded, killed or missing. It featured photos of at least a dozen soldiers with a paragraph or two about each person.

My father’s English second cousin, Lance Corporal Charles Burns, the son of Mary Ann Pye and Zachariah Burns, was pictured in the newspaper. I knew that Charles Burns had died on 7 June, 1918 and had assumed that he had been killed in action, but this article revealed a different story.

It read, “Lance Corporal Charles Burns who has been missing since May 27, when he was in action with the Rifle Brigade, is now known by his parents … To be a prisoner of war at Limburg, Germany.”

I wonder if Charles was wounded when he was captured as he died within days of capture and cannot have been at the camp for long. An interesting detail about the camp at Limburg was that Irish prisoners were sent there in the attempt to recruit them to form an Irish Brigade in the German Army.

Charles Burns is buried in the Terlincthun British Cemetery, Wimille situated on the outskirts of Boulogne, France. This cemetery was only opened in the month of Charles’s death, therefore I am uncertain if Charles’s body was one of those reinterred here after the War.

The newspaper article was published on 2 November 1918 which was five months after Charles had died. It is sad to think that his parents were still hopeful of his wellbeing. The article also reported that Charles’s brother, George Burns, had been wounded and returned to home service in England.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments